Bonnie Kaye Studio

Why I'm Breaking Up with Etsy

Why I'm Breaking Up with Etsy

Breakups are so hard.  Especially when there's money involved and you've been dating for 6 years hardcore, and approximately 15 years loosely.  But this is a decision long time coming, and I'm here to explain why I'm breaking up with Etsy.

I am a maker true and true, so Etsy should be perfect for me, my products, and my business, but they've been gradually pushing me away and I've honestly had enough.  Sure, Etsy, I will admit, has been good to me - so let's start there first.  Etsy has brought 100's of super sweet customers to my shop and almost 2k purchases and for that I will forever be thankful.  Etsy has quoted me in articles and even featured my shop in a lovely blog post in the Fall of 2018.  They have purchased my products to wrap corporate gifts and to include in ads campaigns.  They have featured my wrapping paper in their holiday tread report (two years in a row!).

But I've also worked super, super hard on my end - gained solid 5-star reviews, hired professional photography, and complied with their free shipping push.  I'm constantly tweaking titles and tags and trying to appear more in their search.  And I've experimented time and time again with their promoted listings/ads (more on that later...).  I'm really trying to stand out and I think I have.  But things aren't adding up and there's one thing for sure, I want to work smarter, not harder in 2020.  And managing two websites/e-commerce platforms is something I am no longer interested in doing.  So I'm willing to take the risk and focus solely our main online shopping site for the future.  And here's why.

Fees, Fees, Fees
Let me be clear and honest, I actually bring in more revenue on Etsy than I do this website that you are currently reading this on.  But I pay a TON more fees on Etsy, making my actual profit margin smaller.  For those that don't know how Etsy works, you pay a .20 listing fee for every item that you post to your shop (which you pay again every time it sells or every 4 months if you choose to renew) plus you pay a 5% sale fee AND a 3% + .25 credit card transaction fee.  So if I sell a single roll of wrapping paper for $15, I pay a fee of $1.65 (.20 + .75 + .70), walking out the door with $13.35.  This may not sound like a big deal, but it truly ads up.  And who's to say that tomorrow Etsy won't change this fee to 7% or 10%.  (Speaking by someone who clearly remembers when the fee was 3.5% and .10 to list.)  I've long given feedback to Etsy for a flat rate monthly fee, but their "catch" is that you can open a shop for "free" so I highly doubt they are ever going to switch their structure.  So as it is now, the more money I make on Etsy, the more money I give to Etsy, making it hard to hit a higher profit margin.  

Goodbye Etsy Wholesale + Promoted Listings
I've been on Etsy long enough to see a lot of changes.  And I've said goodbye to some aspects that I really loved and found very helpful to my business.  I had zero control over these changes.  I was heartbroken to have to say goodbye to Etsy Wholesale, as I had a ton of shops find me through that platform.  And when Promoted Listings (Etsy's internal ad space) turned into Etsy Ads (and partnered with Google), my ROI plummeted.  I could no longer see as clearly on Etsy's interface where my ad money was going or when in the day it was being used.  My cost per click was averaging around .30 and they were longer turning into sales.  I felt like I was throwing ad money into the bottom of an ocean.  I tried for several months and had to force myself to quit.  I felt like I had a gambling problem after a little while.

Lost in a {weird} Crowd
There are a lot of fabulous makers on Etsy, so please do not take this the wrong way.  But when you make artwork the old fashioned way, with handcrafted detail, quality materials, and good design, it's hard to be sitting next to someone who does none of those things.  I'm finding that the more professional I want to be as an artist and maker, the more I want to distance myself from hobbyists, mass manufacturers, and knockoffs - all of which have a strong presence on Etsy.  

You can see my (uncredited) wrapping paper under the tree in this Etsy ad.

I realize this is a pretty big (and scary) shift, but I truly think it's time.  And I realize it's going to take a different kind of work to drive more customers to this website.  But I've never said no to a challenge.  And after a recent poll on Instagram, it looks like 80% of you prefer to shop on an independent website opposed to Etsy anyway. (Thanks for the break up encouragement!)

If you have made it to the end of this post, then I hope I have shed some insight.  If you are a maker and are frustrated with Etsy, I hope you see that you are not alone.  But if the platform, works for you - keep dating!  If you are a buyer of handmade, I encourage you to always, always try to buy directly from the artist (at a in-person market or on their independent website), as that will always support the artist the most financially.  Because at the end of the day, if the artist isn't supported, the making will stop.       

So as of Feb. 1, you'll find my work exclusively online at this site,  


1 comment

Mar 04, 2020

Honest and thoughtful. Luckily, when you close one door, another opens. Best of luck.

Todd Broockerd

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